Jefferson County

Authorities say a Jefferson County man who had been a longtime suspect in his wife's disappearance recently confessed to her killing and led police to her remains.

Records show 43-year-old Joseph Poe III was arrested Friday on unrelated charges. On Saturday, Chief Deputy Randy Christian says Poe told Tarrant police he needed to talk to a detective concerning Paula Anne Worcester's disappearance.

An EF-2 Tornado ripped through parts of Birmingham last night. APR student reporter Parker Branton has more…

Two tornados ripped through parts of Jefferson County.

The tornado was rated EF2 by a survey crew in Bessemer from the National Weather Service this morning.  There was also EF1 damage near McAlla.

Matt Grantham is a Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Birmingham. He described what path the tornado took.

A man convicted in the shooting death of an off-duty Birmingham police officer has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. APR’s Stan Ingold has more.

42-year-old Patrick Johnson was sentenced Monday. In October, he was convicted of felony murder in the 2014 shooting death of Birmingham Police Officer Keary Hollis.

A jury reached a deadlock on a verdict in May, and Johnson was tried again in October.

A patient being treated for Ebola-like symptoms at UAB Hospital has tested negative for the disease.

Jefferson County Medical Director Edward Khan says the patient recently visited a country with active Ebola cases. The patient began developing symptoms and notified authorities, and was admitted to UAB Hospital last night. Authorities have not released the patient’s identity or the country visited.

  The daughters of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Governor George Wallace will meet with Governor Robert Bentley today. It’s all part of a ceremony to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march.    It was on this date in 1965 that Dr. King led the procession to Alabama’s State Capitol. APR spoke with Bernice** King during the remembrance of “bloody Sunday” in Selma.

She says voting rights are being challenged in the U.S. and the fight has to go on.

A state lawmaker wants to make sure that faith-based adoption agencies have the right to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa introduced the bill last week specifying groups that could refuse to participate in adoptions and foster care placements that violate their religious beliefs.

The bill would also prohibit the state of Alabama from refusing to license, or renew a contract with, the groups for refusing services to people on religious grounds.

Joyce Hardin Garrard
Eric T. Wright, AP

A jury will debate whether to recommend the death penalty today after convicting the woman accused of running her granddaughter to death of capital murder.

The panel will hear additional evidence for sentencing today as they decide between execution or life in prison without parole for 49 year old grandmother Joyce Hardin Garrard. The judge has the final say.

The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. They argue Garrard brutally forced the girl to run for hours as punishment until she collapsed into seizures.

Wikimedia Commons

Jefferson County's medical examiner says there have been 100 heroin-related deaths in the county this year, surpassing 58 that were recorded in 2013. reports Chief Medical Examiner Gregory Davis is asking the Jefferson County Commission for a 2 percent funding increase to help cover autopsy costs and renew a contract with UAB to provide toxicology services. A committee approved his request and the full commission is expected to vote on it Wednesday.

The Birmingham News/Tamika Moore

Jefferson County commissioners have approved a more than $463 million budget presented by County Manager Tony Petelos.

   The commission approved the budget on Tuesday.

   WBRC-TV reports ( that it includes more money to purchase equipment which has been neglected for years because of the county's money troubles.

   The budget will include a 2 percent cost-of-living raise for county workers for the first time in years. Petelos said the county needs to do more to keep workers from leaving.

Joe Songer /

The Alabama Department of Transportation says it's ending what has been a traffic nightmare for many travelers near Birmingham.

The state says it will reopen westbound Interstate 20 in eastern Jefferson County on Thursday, weather permitting.

About 74,000 vehicles travel through the area each day. The state closed first the eastbound and then the westbound lanes for resurfacing work.

The detours have led to traffic jams and delays, but the state says all the work is supposed to be done by early winter. / Birmingham Yellow Cab

Birmingham and Jefferson County are getting some extra help fighting crime. About 100 taxi drivers in Jefferson County have been trained to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. If they see something, they can call police and report it immediately. Yellow Cab announced the new "TOP" or Taxis on Patrol program Monday in front of Birmingham City Hall. The taxis will be equipped with GPS technology that can send and receive information. They will also have security cameras that will be able to help police during investigations.

The City of Birmingham has lost the court fight to keep the Cooper Green Mercy hospital open for the poor. The city was unable to force Jefferson County in the latest round in court Wednesday to keep hospital open and operating as usual. Lawsuits against the county are effectively frozen in place until the county emerges from bankruptcy under Chapter 9. The city asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Bennett to lift a stay so the city could sue the county in state court. The county commission voted in August to close the inpatient unit and emergency room at the county owned hospital.

Jefferson County To Create Public Defender System

Jul 23, 2012

Jefferson County courts are switching to a public defender system in a move meant to control costs.

Circuit Judge Scott Vowell said the new public defender's office will have a dedicated staff of attorneys to represent defendants who cannot afford their own attorney. Right now, judges appoint private lawyers to represent indigent defendants.